Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 135- When Money Didn't Limit Food

I've talk (written?) a lot here about what I am eating, should be eating, plan to eat. I write very little about what I used to eat, probably because just about none of it shows up in my current diet.

This time last year the roommate (at the time) and I had a veggie share with a local CSA. One of us would go and grab the share, usually on a Friday, and we'd have a bunch of veggies to creatively nom or waste all week long. End of June in that area meant greens. Beet greens, lettuces, kale, garlic scapes. Note- I don't care how good for you kale is, I still don't like it. It has strange texture.

Anyway, veggies every week, changing as it warmed up and new things came in. So in addition to my normal rotation were things like roasted beets (which make your pee pink), fresh salad, and eventually things with fresh local-ish tomatoes.

Really, though, I lived off of about five basic meals.
  1. Pasta with doctored sauce
  2. Fried tofu with onions and potatoes
  3. "meat"ball subs
  4. channa masala
  5. black bean salad/ chips
Randomly floating through that mix are things like store-bought vegan ravioli, gnocchi, the odd can of tomato soup. I ate my way through a flat of ramen (oriental from one of the brands, don't remember which) over a year. Sometimes, when I had melty vegan cheese on hand I'd pick up a loaf of crusty bread and some zucchini or eggplant, and fry the veggies with onion, toss them on the bread, and melt the "cheese" in for a kinda philly-cheese-type sammich.

And through this all were chips. Chips dipped in sour supreme with Turkish seasoning, chips eaten plain, chips and bean dip, chips and hummus.

Oh, and I forgot my 6th common meal- restaurant. Not a whole lot of vegan (or vegetarian) food in Wyoming, but I always just figured that was what Colorado was for. Huge sandwiches and roast veggies and weird salads and stuff from Whole Foods, falafel, huge salad and chocolate cake from the local veggie restaurant, big tasty burritos from Qdoba.

Nowhere was there oatmeal, unless I was using it to make muffins. I'd make a big pot of shell pasta, and while it was cooking, fry some tofu and onion, dump in the sauce, and fix it up more with some wine. I'd drink more wine while I ate it, and think Om nom nom thoughts the whole time. Same doctored sauce (minus the tofu) would end up in the meatball subs. Sometimes it'd get spread on pizza, too.

Add dairy back into what I ate, and the sour supreme switches to Daisy brand, and everything gets a coating of Tillamook or mozzarella and a pass under the broiler or through the microwave before nommage commenced. Oh, and I ate a lot of mac and cheese. Otherwise, if it was fast and easy, I'd give it a shot.

True story- before I did the veggie thing I ate mostly pepperoni pizza rolls for about 2 years, a big bulk box at a time. After veggie-ing I went to the cheese type. Tried making them myself, but that was a mess.

Anyway, fast and easy was what I wanted. It's still what I want. Cheap, though, has to come first. The pasta and sauce mix I used to do? $6.75 for two (half box-sized) servings. The "meat" ball subs were about $10 to buy everything. Sometimes I'd make a pasta with fresh veggies thing that cost about the same (dratted tomatoes).

None of this shows up now. I'm not sure I could fit it in now. Ok, some of it's not that expensive- the chickpea stuff, for instance. But if money were no object, that's about what I'd be eating.

It's got to be better than yesterday's wall paper paste and gluten nuggets (which I might work on some more- maybe if I add some chicken free bullion?)

ETA: Forgot one- veggie hotdogs with (veggie?) cheese, wrapped in crescent rolls, with a can-worth of the veggie-friendly heinz baked beans from the UK on the side, and a bunch of fancy mustard and cheap catsup to dip them in.

No wonder I'm broke. What would you guys (ladies) eat if cost wasn't a factor?


  1. I know you said you don't like Kale, but have you ever had Kale Chips? They are so good...and taste like potato chips. To make rip kale into ...well chip size pieces and toss with a light hands worth of olive oil. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 425 for maybe 10 min or so. Eat as you would chips!


  2. If money were no object, I would buy tons of seafood. Salmon and crab legs/lump crabmeat especially. Or standing rib roasts. and for luxury snacking...brie cheese, olive tapanade, water crackers and pinot noir.

  3. mmm... It's so hard to know... When my huzbun and I both had "serious" jobs, we ate out a lot. That was partially motivated by major time constraints. However, there is some pretty impressive food selections around our area, and yeah... I definitely would like the freedom to try more of them (not just when there is a groupon). For food at home though, I think it would be more fish (nicer ones like mahi-mahi and halibut)for me and more steak for him. More Feta and Brie, More fresh herbs (rosemary and mint), and of course more Cabernet Sauvignon (of course).

  4. Saryn- does roasting get them less stringy? Dinosaur kale might work for me, but everything else is... well, it's like biting into a junkie- all veins.

    Erin- That's some snazzy snacking you've got planned there. I miss having a random bottle of wine around, even if just for splashing in food.

    Ruby Leigh- Eating out is a big one. It's so much fun, even alone, and knowing you don't have to clean up after just makes it better. When it's just you for dinner, do you still want the "good" stuff, or just something to eat and get it over with?

    My stuff is all convenience/ junk food. I admit, there's only so far you can go, spending-wise, with veggie food. Even with organic and fair trade. as long as it's not fresh, out of season, and only grown in one place in the world.

    If money *really* was no object, I'd have a personal chef. Either someone who came in and cooked once a week, leaving labeled food and a schedule (or something) in the fridge for 3-6 meals a day, or one who stayed in my kitchen and cooked everyday, so I wouldn't be responsible for more than the fork to mouth part. Remove the "chore" part of cooking, so I can enjoy it again.

  5. Kale is how I punish myself if I drink too much. Luckily, I don't drink often.

    I think a lot of those things you could eat still, and much more cheaply than you used to eat them for.

    But in terms of my own diet, I would cook the exact same stuff I cook now. The only difference is that I'd eat at restaurants when I'm too tired to cook instead of cooking when I'm too tired to cook.

  6. Oh wait. I lied. I'd go back to drinking better quality juices instead of frozen orange juice concentrate juice.

  7. ok, now imagine you didn't have your Aladdin's cave of spices and random pantry finds. I could totally do a lot of the stuff I was eating last year, after a fashion. I'd just have to spend a couple hours ahead of time *making* them to use later.

    ... Of course, I just spent about 4 hours this evening cooking enough food to keep even *me* going and full for the better part of a week. And I'm not done yet.

    That's what I need- juice. it's on sale, 3 bottles for $6 until next tuesday. Maybe I'll get one. Abba duce flavored stuff is goooooood.

  8. You have a really good point there (and lol re: Aladdin's cave). I've spent a long time (though not a lot of money; I couldn't afford them now, but if I had even $60/month instead of $40/month, it'd be affordable) acquiring the extraordinary quantities of spices of have. I think I probably could manage w/o the pantry finds on $15/week, but it'd require a lot more work on my part (i.e., giving up junk food mostly).

    If it makes you feel any better, I do make massive batches of stuff so I don't have to deal with more cooking later. Mostly soups. Barley is my friend for those.

    Dude... you should totally get some juice!